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BIG WAVE PROJECT: San Mateo County Board of Supervisors Meeting - March 29, 2011

BIG WAVE PROJECT: San Mateo County Board of Supervisors Meeting - March 29, 2011

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Published by Sabrina Brennan
Monday, March 21, 2011

President Carole Groom and Members,
San Mateo County Board of Supervisors
455 County Center Redwood City, CA 94063

Re: Big Wave and the Cascadia Subduction Zone

Dear Supervisors,

One of the greatest challenges for the County of San Mateo is creating and sustaining a“culture of awareness”in the populations of coastal residents and coastal visitors, so they know instinctively that strong ground shaking at the coast is their signal to evacuate immediately to higher ground. Another challenge is building a strong infrastructure for warning the coastal population, local and visitor, about distant tsunami threats.

Administrative challenges include working with minimal funding and staffing to develop the tsunami education program that includes evacuation drills. Local emergency managers must be given the funding to support resources needed in the community for the development of a tsunami ready community. The other, almost overwhelming, challenge is making the coastal transportation system less vulnerable to catastrophic failure due to a local earthquake and tsunami. Nearly all of the bridges and culverts on the San Mateo County coast are in greater or lesser stages of deterioration. Given a 10-20 percent chance that a magnitude 9 undersea earthquake and tsunami will strike the Oregon, Washington, and Northern California coast in the next 50 years, the current highway system will be severely damaged, rendering emergency response nearly impossible.

It is critical to note that the current buoy network would do little to nothing to limit loss of life in coastal areas that are right next to tsunami-generating earthquakes faults. Travel time from the Cascadia earthquake source to the US west coast is too short for the system to operate effectively.

The Cascadia subduction zone can produce very large earthquakes ("megathrust earthquakes"), magnitude 9.0 or greater, if rupture occurs over its whole area. When the "locked" zone stores up energy for an earthquake, the "transition" zone, although somewhat plastic, can rupture. Great Subduction Zone earthquakes are the largest earthquakes in the world, and can exceed magnitude 9.0. Earthquake size is proportional to fault area, and the Cascadia Subduction Zone is a very long sloping fault that stretches from mid-Vancouver Island to Northern California.

It's hard to believe that the San Mateo County Planning Commission voted in favor of locating residential housing for people with disabilities in a tsunami inundation area. Planning Commissioners Chris Ranken, Steve Dworetzky and William Wong did not ask a single question about the level of risk posed by the Cascadia subduction zone in advance of voting to approve the Big Wave project on November 23, 2010. Chris Ranken is director of Island Aid an organization that accepts donations to develop tsunami survival pods (Island Aid link: http://island-aid.org/page7/page7.php). Ranken must have understood the level of risk in advance of making his decision however he said nothing about Cascadia fault safety concerns during the hearing.

We have all seen images of the tsunami debris flow in Japan moving over 6 miles inland. A magnitude 9.0 could happen on the Northern California coast. Please don't miss this important opportunity to broaden public awareness about the dangers posed by tsunamis on the San Mateo County coast.

Do-the-right-thing and vote to protect human life before disaster strikes!

www.area29.org
Monday, March 21, 2011

President Carole Groom and Members,
San Mateo County Board of Supervisors
455 County Center Redwood City, CA 94063

Re: Big Wave and the Cascadia Subduction Zone

Dear Supervisors,

One of the greatest challenges for the County of San Mateo is creating and sustaining a“culture of awareness”in the populations of coastal residents and coastal visitors, so they know instinctively that strong ground shaking at the coast is their signal to evacuate immediately to higher ground. Another challenge is building a strong infrastructure for warning the coastal population, local and visitor, about distant tsunami threats.

Administrative challenges include working with minimal funding and staffing to develop the tsunami education program that includes evacuation drills. Local emergency managers must be given the funding to support resources needed in the community for the development of a tsunami ready community. The other, almost overwhelming, challenge is making the coastal transportation system less vulnerable to catastrophic failure due to a local earthquake and tsunami. Nearly all of the bridges and culverts on the San Mateo County coast are in greater or lesser stages of deterioration. Given a 10-20 percent chance that a magnitude 9 undersea earthquake and tsunami will strike the Oregon, Washington, and Northern California coast in the next 50 years, the current highway system will be severely damaged, rendering emergency response nearly impossible.

It is critical to note that the current buoy network would do little to nothing to limit loss of life in coastal areas that are right next to tsunami-generating earthquakes faults. Travel time from the Cascadia earthquake source to the US west coast is too short for the system to operate effectively.

The Cascadia subduction zone can produce very large earthquakes ("megathrust earthquakes"), magnitude 9.0 or greater, if rupture occurs over its whole area. When the "locked" zone stores up energy for an earthquake, the "transition" zone, although somewhat plastic, can rupture. Great Subduction Zone earthquakes are the largest earthquakes in the world, and can exceed magnitude 9.0. Earthquake size is proportional to fault area, and the Cascadia Subduction Zone is a very long sloping fault that stretches from mid-Vancouver Island to Northern California.

It's hard to believe that the San Mateo County Planning Commission voted in favor of locating residential housing for people with disabilities in a tsunami inundation area. Planning Commissioners Chris Ranken, Steve Dworetzky and William Wong did not ask a single question about the level of risk posed by the Cascadia subduction zone in advance of voting to approve the Big Wave project on November 23, 2010. Chris Ranken is director of Island Aid an organization that accepts donations to develop tsunami survival pods (Island Aid link: http://island-aid.org/page7/page7.php). Ranken must have understood the level of risk in advance of making his decision however he said nothing about Cascadia fault safety concerns during the hearing.

We have all seen images of the tsunami debris flow in Japan moving over 6 miles inland. A magnitude 9.0 could happen on the Northern California coast. Please don't miss this important opportunity to broaden public awareness about the dangers posed by tsunamis on the San Mateo County coast.

Do-the-right-thing and vote to protect human life before disaster strikes!

www.area29.org

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Published by: Sabrina Brennan on Mar 29, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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03/29/2011

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San Mateo County
Board of Supervisors Meeting
Tuesday, March 29th 2011
 
The following criteria shall apply within all areasdefined as Tsunami Inundation Hazard Areas:(a) The following uses, structures, anddevelopment shall not be permitted: publicly-owned buildings intended for human occupancyother than park and recreational facilities; schools,hospitals,nursing homes, or other buildings or development used primarily by children or physically or mentally infirm persons.
San Mateo County Zoning Regulations
SECTION 6326.2. TSUNAMI INUNDATION AREA CRITERIA
page:
 
20A.2.14
 
ABAG tsunami maps showthat the project would placeresidential and commercialstructures within a mappedtsunami zone.

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